Monday, 24 August 2020

life during lockdown part 4

For the month of August, I have been synopsising what I have been up to during lockdown. I have posted three other "life during lockdown" blogs here, here and here. I will return to more singularly themed blogs in September.

My exhibition, Liminal, opened at Tiny Cat Gallery earlier this week. I have to admit that the virtual launch was more fun than any of my previous "live" exhibitions. The cardboard box gallery is manned by tiny plastic cats and artist designer Lisa Cole, who is the curator of the gallery, creates elaborate and humorous narratives to go along with each of the pictures she posts.

At the beginning of the month, I attended the first of four Zoom workshops on felting. The workshops, held each Friday morning this month, are sponsored by the University of Atypical in Northern Ireland, and facilitated by artist felter, Niki Collier. I have been working in my kitchen, with my laptop perched on the cold stove. This is my set-up for the first workshop.

This month Angel City Review published two of my poems in Issue 9. This literary journal is freely downloadable from their website. Below is one of the poems, which is relevant as I type this on the eve of the fourth anniversary of my Mum's death.

I felt it in my body
Months before I knew
My mother's fatal diagnosis.
Something was wrong.

The pain grew in my foot.
From heel to ball
It would not move forward
Into the oncoming grief.
Knowing what lay ahead,
Both feet rebelled
And refused to take me there.

After the funeral
The pain in my chest grew -
A series of respiratory malfunctions,
Brochitis, tracheitis, sinusitis,
The common cold.
A plague on my house.
Constant coughing,
Chest tight, heart palpitating -
A permanent heart ache.

This grief is cellular.
Pain moves in and out,
Osmotic, changing density
Till every pore weeps.
The sadness of my body
Cannot recover that
Which is forever lost,
Yet stumbles on.

My feet still hurt.
Often I am numb.
My limp is barely perceptible
To unaware strangers
These days as I
Wheeze forward slowly
One tiny step at a time.

I was pleased to find out, at the beginning of the month, that my proposal for the Aos Dara/Umha Aois combined symposium had been accepted. For this year's symposium, due to lockdown, the organisers required that participating artists spend some time in Tomnafinnoge Wood, an old oak forest, then create work in their own studios. Culture Night in September, will see the launch of an exhibition to include some of this year's work, as well as last year's work, at the Courthouse Arts Centre in Tinahely, which is near Tomnafinnoge Wood.

The day I spent at Tomnafinnoge was perfect! It was a dry, summer day and the woods were greenly gorgeous. I found this tree, which had obviously survived a lightning strike, to be of immense inspiration.

I loved the way the tangle of branches created a net-like canopy - some shade from a very hot sun that day!

One of the main points of my proposal was to create drawings where the paper is covered by graphite and one removes the graphite with an eraser. I have always thought this was a very sculptural way of drawing.

I also prepared some pages with black acrylic as I thought I would draw with white paint on them - kind of opposite to what I planned to do with the graphite as this would be an additive method rather than subtractive.

I also did not want to ignore colour and imagined doing some collages. Normally I create collages with scraps of paper for the purpose of occasion cards, as I blogged about here, here, here and here, but I realised these scraps of paper were not exactly artist quality. To rectify this, I decided to paint, with acrylics, a number of pages with colours that I expected to use in Tomnafinnoge collages. I will dedicate a future blog to some of the results of my work!

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